The Kingman Eagles put up an impressive 29 points in the final quarter of action against Wellington on Friday night.
The problem for the Eagles was they scored more in that fourth quarter than they did in the previous three combined. The end result was Wellington winning in a 58-53 thriller.
After entering the final stanza with a nine-point deficit, Kingman came within three off a Cody New trey with around 10 seconds to go. But at the 3.6 second mark, Eagle Tyler Albright fouled out of the game and sent Wellington’s Nick Becker to the line. Becker sank both, making it a two-possession ball game and securing the win.
“It was there for the taking, but we never clamped it down defensively like we want to,” said Kingman head coach Steve Bangert. “Offensively, we want to force the defense to get chaotic and have to sprint back on the ball reversal. We didn’t start reversing the ball since the fourth quarter.”
At most stages in the first quarter, it appeared as if the Eagles would never get within striking distance. Wellington’s Braden Miles was the first to get on the scoreboard, but Mitchell Packard answered to start things out at 2-2. But Wellington would go on a 9-0 run before Braxton Bangert edged the Eagles forward on an old-fashioned three-point play to close the quarter at 11-5.
Wellington would pull away in the second, extending its lead by 16, before Bangert ended the half by sinking a pair at the charity stripe.
Three-pointers began to fall more effectively in the third, as Wellington’s Alex Weiss hit one, as did Kingman’s Bangert and Albright. Eagle Mitchell Packard drew a foul at 2.4 seconds, and ended the quarter with a pair of successful free-throws to bring things to a 33-24 Wellington lead.
Wellington reassumed double-digit leads during several points in the final quarter, but Kingman’s Brandon Bradshaw came alive with a trey and a pair of deuces, bringing it back within nine. Packard had two more three-pointers and Albright another, but the late charge from the Eagles wasn’t quite enough.
The Crusaders had three players in double figures. Weiss led the way with 16, while Becker had 14 and Miles had 13. Noah Wolff and Brian Peck also had significant contributions offensively for WHS, scoring 9 and 8, respectively.
Packard paced the Eagles with 16, while Bradshaw had 15.
Now 1-1, the Eagles will regroup to play Conway Springs for third place in the Eagle Classic, while Wellington will face Haven in the championship game.
Coach Bangert said one of the biggest reasons they lost was they strayed from the things that they had gone over in practice. But he doesn’t expect that to happen again.
“The things we’ve been practicing since day one, we didn’t bring with us for whatever reason. If we lose another game now and we learn from it, that would be O.K. That wasn’t the basketball team we’re hoping to see night-in and night-out,” he said.